Anything can happen on Mrs Brown’s Boys, which makes it one of the most popular television sitcoms Britain has seen.
Brendan O’Carroll’s foul-mouthed Mammy and her eccentric family have truly stolen the hearts of millions, meaning every year, it’s one of the most watched programmes.
With fans always left wanting more, despite there being no plans for a full series of Mrs Brown’s Boys, Christmas specials have been commissioned up until 2020, and chat show All Round To Mrs. Brown’s, is set to return this weekend.
UNILAD caught up with Brendan O’Carroll and Jenny Gibney (Cathy Brown), to chat about all things Mrs. Brown, as well as what’s next for Britain’s favourite mammy.
UNILAD: Mrs Brown has been around since 1992. How did you come up with the idea for the character?
Brendan: Well I went for a radio interview with a guy in Dublin, called Derek O’Callaghan. One of the things he did, he would get C-list celebrities in to read some weird stuff out from the local news.
I went in, I’m reading some of the stuff and he must have found me shrinking in to myself as he said ‘are you okay’ and I went ‘yeah, its just not funny’.
And he said, ‘oh, you think you can be funnier than that’ and I said ‘oh, f*cking turn on the mic’. I went into a role and rattled out a couple of gags. We had a good laugh.
So afterwards he asked if we could go for coffee and I had my agent with me at the time. So we went and he said he was looking for something quirky for the afternoon and I said: ‘I’m writing a five minute comedy soap opera that would be perfect’.
He said ‘are you’ and my agent said ‘are you’. He said ‘I would love to hear it’ and my agent said ‘I would love to f*cking hear it’.
I was asked ‘what it’s called?’. So that day I was driving in, I was listening to the news and Louise Brown, it was her 18th birthday and she was the very first test tube baby. So she was on my mind so I said ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’.
Over that weekend I wrote the first five episodes. I got my friends into the studio, I got my window cleaner in, who now plays grandad on the show, and it was born.
They had an actress booked to play Mrs Brown and she had a kidney infection. So I said I would do her lines and when she’s well I will dub her in.
So during the recording I did this voice and when I went in to do the edit the editor said to me ‘whose the actress playing Mrs Brown’ and I said ‘thats me’.
He said ‘no way, you have to keep that voice’ and so I ended up playing Mrs Brown myself. So the whole thing was an accident.
UNILAD: That’s incredible! As well as your window cleaner, your whole family are involved in the show?
Brendan: Its super. If someone wins a BAFTA, they go home and tell their family how wonderful the experience was. Well, when we won one the whole family were on the stage meaning we shared the whole experience.
Jenny: We are very lucky as when we travel and tour its like being at home. Having your whole family with you is great because the worst thing about being away from home is missing your family.
— Mrs. Brown's Boys (@MrsBrownsBoys) February 16, 2018
UNILAD: The show is well known for being informal, with plenty of improvisation and you keep production mistakes in. What’s the atmosphere like on set then?
Jenny: There’s never a dull moment. You have to be sharp when you’re out there as you never know what’s coming next. It keeps it fresh I think and we’ve all been playing the characters now for so long, we know how to react to what happens as the character.
UNILAD: So what do you think, so far, was the funniest moment on the show? I’m sure there are plenty to choose from.
Brendan: So far I think it’s when Paddy, who plays Dermot, came in dressed as a Ken Doll and Buster came in the box as the Cindy doll. I’d seen them very briefly between scenes and I thought they looked great.
Paddy would nod at me but not say anything because he had these teeth in. So when he came out and he went ‘no Mam, I came over to see how you were’, I was just f*cking gone!
It took us 20 minutes to do the scene. The more he tried not to do it, the worst I was getting.
UNILAD: Of course, we have to talk about All Round To Mrs Brown’s. What was your favourite guest, or the one you were most nervous to meet?
Jenny: When we were doing the chat show it was nerve-wracking as I playing Cathy Brown, doing a chat show host.
The ones I’m most daunted by are people who are chat show hosts themselves so like Phil and Holly. They do it every morning to the nation and I’m like, oh my God, they’re going to be on the couch with us.
But every single one of the hosts were incredibly generous and maybe it comes from them doing it they know when you want to move on the question etc?
— Mrs. Brown's Boys (@MrsBrownsBoys) April 1, 2017
UNILAD: I imagine they were fun to interview. But how did the idea of this chat show come about?
Brendan: Since the success of the television series the BBC and independent production companies were on to us for a long time. We always said no as Mrs Brown doesn’t leave the house.
Then we thought, why don’t we do the talk show but not leave the house? We then made a pilot and were taken aback when it worked.
By the time we got to the second to last episode we got asked when we would like to record a second series.
Here we go the last recording of All Round to Mrs. Brown's, don't forget every Saturday night 9:15 BBC One & RTE One pic.twitter.com/z0wgZovOCl
— Mrs. Brown's Boys (@MrsBrownsBoys) March 27, 2017
Jenny: I think it helps we are in our home. We are on our set. They are dropping into our house.
One of the guests said they didn’t feel like they had done a chat show, they felt like they had dropped round to us in the evening which was a great compliment. It’s what they’re trying to achieve.
You can watch a clip from the next episode of All Round To Mrs. Brown’s featuring Danny Dyer, Amir Khan and Kate Humble here:
UNILAD: So what are you working on next?
Brendan: We have a few weeks off on paper but I have to write the two Christmas specials for this year.
More importantly, we start touring in March next year with Mrs Brown’s Boys: The Musical. I’m writing that this summer and so looking forward to it.
UNILAD: That sounds brilliant. Like a foul-mouthed Mamma Mia?
Brendan: Yeah, you will hear Mrs Brown sing!
The next episode of All Round To Mrs. Brown’s airs at 21:20 this Saturday night (May 19) on BBC One and RTE One.
Mrs Brown’s Boys: The Musical is due to tour next year.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.